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Gay weddings present photographers with a few new issues to resolve. As in your relationship, communication is key.

One might imagine that capturing a same-sex ceremony on film presents the same challenges as any wedding, and in imagining so one would be correct. Sort of. Photographers do indeed have to prepare for the same sorts of alterations and eventualities at LGBTQ+ ceremonies as they do for other couples: poor lighting, bad weather, the uncle who’s had too much to drink even before vows are exchanged…

There are, though, a number of things to consider that are particular to Him&Him, Her&Her, and They&They events, especially for Destination Weddings abroad. Times (and laws) have changed so quickly that the demand for photographers who have loads of experience with Queer couples far outweighs the supply. Here are 3 tips for topics to talk about with your photographer.

1. Here or There?

Because the Wedding Album is the record that most concretely documents the day, choosing a photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make. Professional reputations in this field are built and spread word-of-mouth, and many couples rely on recommendations from friends or relatives. For a ceremony abroad, though, engaging a photographer at home means purchasing their plane ticket, putting them up in the hotel, paying for their meals and other expenses. For some, having a photographer from home, one they trust, is worth the cost.

There are advantages, though, to precuring the services of a professional photographer who is based in the city that will be hosting your celebration. The most obvious is that they will be familiar with logistical challenges, local customs, and location options. In Rome, for example, it is typical for couples to be spirited away after the ceremony. While everyone else makes their way to where the reception is being held to enjoy pre-meal drinking and chatting, the newlyweds are chauffeured around town for photos with the Eternal City’s massive monuments, fabulous fountains, and picturesque piazzas. A Rome-based photographer will know how to maximise time, light, angle and effect, all at a fraction of the cost of an all-expenses paid trip for one from home.

Strike a Pose Choosing your wedding gay photographer

2. Strike a Pose

One of the few challenges of traditional weddings that is irrelevant for same-sex ones is the perennial problem of ‘bride bias’. Typically, the lion’s share of the photographer’s attention (and lens) is focussed on the one in the white dress. For LGBTQ+ weddings and ceremonies, both partners get equal time and coverage. There is an opportunity to be more creative with compositions, from pre-ceremony preparations all the way to the end of the party.

Two brides wearing white, though, present a particular problem. If this is your case, be sure to talk to your photographer about how they will manage light, space, and pose to keep you from looking like one amorphous mass of milky silk and chiffon as you stand beside each other, during and after the ceremony.

Men marrying often choose to wear similar or even identical attire. You will want to discuss with your photographer how they will make it clear that you are not just a couple of ushers, or worse, brothers or mates. They will need to be prepared to guide you through picture poses throughout the day and evening that make it immediately evident that you are the stars of the show.

3. A Rose By Any Other Name…

Draw up a list of the pronouns and terms that you prefer, to assist the photographer in giving direction that is sensitive, informed and aware. Are you both brides or both grooms? Or, regardless of gender, will there be both a bride and a groom? Alternatively, have you decided to dispense with these labels altogether? Are you he’s, she’s or they’s? His, hers, or theirs? The same holds true for your best-whatever and the ushers and/or bridesmaids. Many LGBTQ+ wedding parties are mixed, with people of all genders on each side of the aisle.

Are you having a wedding or a commitment ceremony? Are you getting married or celebrating a civil union?

Will there be family members or friends who are not entirely on board? It may seem odd to mention here, but it is an unfortunate fact for many Queer couples, and being as descriptive as possible will make the jobs of your wedding planner and photographer much easier.

Two men kissing on their wedding

How do you feel about holding hands? Embracing? Kissing? Both during the ceremony and after, whether in a private venue or a public space, especially if you will be having photos taken out and about in the city? Many same-sex couples are uncomfortable with these sorts of expressions outside of their own homes, and communicating this clearly with your photographer will avoid embarrassing awkwardness.

Even a photographer who has little experience with LGBTQ+ weddings and ceremonies will be able to deliver if properly informed and prepared. Be as open and descriptive as possible, and let them know that they can ask you anything. The trust you build will permit the photographer to capture you at your very best.

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